Nubian Circle Book Club

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One Day I Saw A Black King Book Review

Phyllis Rhodes

One Day I Saw A Black King is a haunting story of two lost souls who have survived a childhood filled with neglect, abuse, and emotional trauma only to emerge as hardened, defensive adults.  Connie Rodgers and John King find each through a set of fateful circumstances.  This chance encounter is the catalyst for them to seek redemption and peace within themselves and between each other.

John grows up in a non-affectionate, empty household raised by his maternal grandmother who blames him for the loss of her beloved daughter, Mattie, who died giving birth to John.  The teenaged Mattie is impregnated as a result of rape, so John is kept from his biological father for obvious reasons.  However, his grandmother sees in him the man (via strong physical resemblance) who violated her daughter and subsequently caused her death, and distances herself from him physically and emotionally.  At fifteen, he flees home hurriedly after a traumatic experience, wanders endlessly across the country taking many lovers while never attaching himself to a job, town, or woman, until he meets Connie Rodgers in Denver.

Connie and her younger sister were abandoned by her mother and entered the state childcare system.  The sisters were split up and while her sister blossomed by being adopted by a loving family, Connie is thrust into pedophilic hands while in under foster care.  She runs away and enters life as a teen prostitute before she is rescued by an unlikely person.  Add to her depressing dilemma an unwanted pregnancy, STD, and sibling rivalry and one can understand why she emerges as such an embittered woman who uses men as they once used her.

Things change when Connie and John meet and their ordeals, secrets, and troubled pasts force them to adjust attitudes, face the truth, and make some tough decisions. The shedding of their emotional and psychological baggage makes for interesting adult drama and dialogue, but the overall story is somewhat drawn out and lengthy. Things pick up toward the end when Connie faces a foster parent and John returns home to deal with his embittered grandmother and his father. The outcome yields a surprising twist for the reader.

Overall, Mason's latest work is definitely worth reading as fans of her first novel, On The Eighth Day She Rested, are sure to enjoy this novel as well.

The Nubian Circle Book Club rating for One Day I Saw a Black King is 4.5 stars out of 5 stars.